*For a better understanding of what a bleisure traveler is, take a look at our first post in this series, “Sit Back, Relax, and Stay Awhile: A Quick Guide to Bleisure Travelers”.
After someone has decided to extend their work trip into a bleisure trip, they have one more question to answer: will they stay at the same place for both the business and leisure portions of their trip, or choose a new hotel?
The GBTA Foundation’s recent study in partnership with Hilton, “Extending Business Travel into Leisure Time”, breaks down the components that go into a traveler’s bleisure lodging plans.
Do travelers consider the same factors in choosing bleisure lodging as they do in business-only trips? Let’s take a closer look at the decision-making process these travelers go through:
Decision Factor #1-Price
It is no surprise that the price of the accommodations affect whether or not travelers change locations. 48 percent of people who stay at the same hotel for both business and leisure cite price as one of the reasons why. This may result with savings for the company, if travelers utilize an affordable hotel for both bookings.
Price even has the potential to strongly impact the initial decision to extend a trip to begin with. According to the study, 93 percent of bleisure travelers are likely to extend their trip if they will receive a discounted weekend rate at the hotel and 88 percent say a discount will sway their decision to pick one hotel over another.
Decision Factor #2-Loyalty/Rewards Program
Another key factor is the potential to earn or use points from a hotel loyalty program they are a member of. Ultimately, this can influence travelers either way depending on whether or not the hotel booked for the trip participates in their loyalty program. One-third of those surveyed cited this as a reason to stay at a hotel, while one-fourth indicated that loyalty programs are a reason why they switched to a different hotel.
This opens up a great opportunity for companies to market their preferred hotels to their employees, as most chains offer loyalty programs and may simply not be promoting them. Encouraging employees to sign up for these programs on the front-end may increase the likelihood that they book a stay with the company’s preferred properties.
Decision Factor #3-Amenities
Some travelers may also want to change (or hold on to) their room type, food options, or other amenities such as a pool or great view. The most popular benefits that influence travelers’ decisions are rooms, at 72 percent, and food options, at 71 percent.
So how can companies make the most of this process? An overwhelming majority of business travelers (82 percent) stay at the same place for both the business and leisure travel portions of their stay. Travel programs can take steps to motivate employees to stay at company-preferred hotels during bleisure travel by informing their employees of their preferred chains, encouraging them to enroll in loyalty programs for those preferred chains and, if possible, helping them receive an extended corporate rate.
At the end of the day, it is important for companies to weigh the costs and benefits of allowing or encouraging employees to book bleisure trips with specific vendors or through specific channels and decide what works best for their travel program.
Stay tuned to the GBTA Blog for more from GBTA Foundation’s Bleisure study in partnership with Hilton.